One thing that does not
change is the magic the old culture including the way of living of Lao
people is the thing that the world tourists wish to see...
is an important event which happens in the breeding season, especially
in the southern part of Laos. When the fish gather and move together.
It is a good time for fishing. Catching fish is like a festival in
rural areas. Fish are stored for long term eating are called "Padek"
fermented fish. Padek can be presented as gifts for guests who come to
the villages festivals or given to the poor.
Answering the question "Why do fish move up?" that is, how do thw fish
gaather together and move up the stream, the answer is they swim up
side by side. When the sun sets, fish stop moving and sleep. This is
also a good time to catch fish. To catch fish, people use fishing
nets. There are different kinds of fish in the river and the times.
Fish breed are different, depending on the type. Pa soi fish, for
instance, move up in March every year. The size of this type of fish
is as big as the tumb or two fingers. This fish id very popular in
Attapeu Province. This year, There are lots of fish moving up too and
some school boys are absent from school so that they are catch fish.
It is not only boys, but adult are also absent from work. They enjoy
catching fish, because it is only possible at this time of year.
In Attapeu Province one type of fish is called "Pa Ern". This fish
breeding season is in December, the beginning of winter. Pa Ern is
very big, weight 20-30 kg or even more when full grown. Other types of
fish are "Pa Wa" and "Pa Phone" these move up in wet season especially
in September. When Pa Wa and Pa Phone move up, waves can be seen.
People who live near the banks of rivers can hear the sounds of the
waves. They move up for 3 days. In order to catch fish, people use
their own boats to pull the big nets. Afull grown Pa Wa weights about
2 to 4 kg. Along the Xekong River Attapeu Province, at the beginning
of raining season, when the first and the second rains arrive, the
waters are dirty and muddy, so the fish migrate to other places to
live or for breeding. This event is known that fish enjoy the new
places and water.
In March, the fish usually migrates Pa Pak. These fish like to gather
in a group like a file of fish at night time. A lucky fisherman can
catch them all. In Done Khong, Champasak province, plenty of fish are
available because, the fish move from Tonlesap lake from Cambodia. In
other provinces, the fish breeding season also occur. Any tourists who
can grab an opportunity to see the fish breeding season will find it
very enjoyable interesting.
HERE IS NATURE !
Whenever, I have a plan to tour to the rural area for nature
sights seeing, my heart is brilliant. When the bus actually moves out
from the city and I can see the nature. So, please guess how much my
happiness is increased? The things to touch, are not the smoke, air
pollution, terrible noise of engines, complicated lives, tricks and
hard lives. Along
the way, lives are calm. The sky is blue. Forests are green. Rice
fields, streams and animals, all are looking pleasantly. Small houses
located along the nature. Birds are flying lovely without destinations
My close friends who toured in the same bus, sat quietly then later
they looked happier. And finally, they expressed their happiness by
words, smile, drinks and songs singing. These are lovely natural
lives. Even it we hand the busy work, but we have to find out the ways
for our entertainment by ourselves, referring to the times or methods
to be used. It was quite strange and lovely images, when the bus
stopped in the villages, many types of food and drink such as :
steamed sticky rice, roasted chickens, birds, squirrels, drinks,
bananas, maizes are ready to sale. It was the wonderful thing for the
long distance travelers. Along the roads side, many types of cooked
foods, such as : roasted chickens , fruits , bamboo sprouts,
mushrooms, shells, fish, crabs and other forestry products are
available for sale. In some places where the owners do not take guard,
but there is no one to steal or take the goods away freely.
All foods are new, fresh and low priced. Besides these the vendors are
very honest. It is very keen to give them more money than its prices.
No one can describe in detail of the happy lives in the fresh nature
without touching it by oneself. However, these above should be proved
or clarified by visitors who well understand about the beauty of
WATER...PESTLE RICE FOR ME !
If travel up the northern areas of Laos, you will have seen a
special lovely thing, that is the usage of waterpower to daily life of
families in the ethnic minorities group.
Even though a house is set
alone, when at night that small house is lighted with one or two lamps
without the sound of an engine running by waterpower. the size of
machine for the smallest electric produce is only 100W for 2-3 lamps
in a house, and enough for lighting in time that people come back from
farm, cooking, dinner, relaxation sleeping or children may study.
Many families are still using a streams for generating electricity for
more pestle rice of people all day and night. Due to the geographical
future dotted with mountains, those areas are full of streams.
Villagers only dig a channel or make machine for electric produce is
not expensive, and many people use it in Houaphan, Xiangkhoang and
Phongsali provinces. Many people belief that "Water is an important
natural resources for Lives", but in the northern areas of Laos "Water
is a life, water is a close friend that it helps provide water, pestle
rice and produce light". When need be, children will lift a basket of
paddy then pour it into a call out: "Water... you help pestle rice for
me ! ... I shall go to take mushrooms and bamboo shoots in forest".
INFRONT OF NAMGNUM DAMP
By dark mid night, fishmen who had dinner and slept too early, wake
up, prepared themselves and went to the boat. Each boat has two
fishmen and loaded 4 to 8 big lamps to hang them on the branches of
the trees standing in the middle of the river. The lights of the big
lamps motivate the fish to gather to see the light. The small fish
that prefer the light very much is called Pakeo. Since the waves
celled me on the shore, I wake up in the middle of the night to see
the strange thing. I sat on the veranda of the guest house to look up
to the sky and through everywhere, since it was my first time.
It was February windy night. The big lamps move from the shores of the
small island, while some stood still. They are looked like the stars
on the water surface, I don't know how much the lamps are placed,
since I could not count. If I am a bird flying up over Namgnum river
of 8460 km2 , I will be able to count how many thousand of
the lamps for fishing are.
Uncle Gneuane who occupied this job for more than twenty years
explained that the small fish catching by using the lights of the
lamps can be taken for about half and hour, then the group of fish
come to play and enjoy. The fish like the small insects and admire the
lights. After that we use the light cover to make the area of the
light smaller and the fish come more closer. We use the net to collect
the fish every half and hour until the morning. Each fishmen can
collect about 50 to 60 kilos per night. These reasons made the amount
of the small fish decreased.
How to catch the fish, Bountham PHOXAI, the former manager of Nam gnum
Fish Catching Project described that in the past 10 or 20 years ago,
more than 30 tons of fish can be caught per day, but at the present
days, only 7 hundred kilos can be caught. Expectation, three or four
folds of fish will be caught in September and October.
Madame Khom a fishman's wife said that it was difficult to catch the
fish. Previously, my family can catch 40 to 50 kilos or up to 100
kilos, but to date, if my family can catch 10 kilos is the highest
amount. When the price of fish raise up, the price of the nets and
fuels are also increased. One net costed 7 or 8 thousand kips
previously, but its current price is 50 thousands kips per net. There
is a need to buy the engine for breathing costed 5 million kips to
dive into the deep area. This is the most important tool to be used.
Referring to the estimation of the agency concerned that 30 percentage
that Lao people consume fish. Previously, Namgnum was the kingdom of
the fish. There were the great number of natural fish. At the present,
even though the equipments and the method on how to catch the fish are
well improved, but the number of fish caught are not enough, since the
natural fish can not have free time for breeding. There is a need to
send the small fish for feeding. More reservoirs, lakes and pond
should be made for fishery. Doctors said fish meat have more protein
and vitamin than other meat, since the fish provide little fat, easier
to digest and have minerals to prevent cancers. Namgnum reservoir is
not only to keep energy to generate the electricity power, but it is
also serve as the most popular tourist site in Laos as well. Its
catchments area is very wide. It is known as the small sea. The
fishmen prefer to catch fish here and send to Vientiane markets. As
we've known that only a few number of visitors spend the night here,
but there are many tourists in the day time. They come here to have
lunch and dinner. Those who already visited, wish to come here again.
The sun was
about to set, however it was time for the birds to fly back to their
nesting area. Reaching Nong Nok the different types of birds circled
in the air above several times before landing. Nong Nok is located in
Bane Sivilay, left hand side of road No. 10 to Banekeune Zoo, linked
by a feeder road about 10 kilometers.
It was of great surprise gazing skywards and seeing different types of
birds in many colours hovering over the lake. These birds live in a
natural environment, the lake in which they feed in is full of fish,
frogs and small crabs. As evening drew in, even more flocks of birds
stretched their wings over the lake. The bamboo along the shores of
the lake instantly changed to the colours of the birds as they landed
on it. The wild ducks which had spent most of the day time resting and
swimming were out to feed.
I listened with interest while Mr.Kayson TANHAVONG, the team leader of
this reservoir construction, the former chief of the village and
Mr.Khammoune KEOPHIOLAVANH, the present chief of the village explained
about the lake development for preservation and its new targets for
Initially, the first goal is to keep water for animals in the dry
season since this village is about five kilometers from Namgnum River.
It was constructed in 1982 by various funds and contributing labour
force of the villagers. The dykes are 370 meters in length and 3
meters high with 3 water gates. After being constructed, the
catchments become even bigger. It is about 2,000 meters long covering
an area of 64 hectares. the lake is stable both in the wet and dry
season with many types of natural fish and fish breaded and released
by the villagers. more goals are being set to increase the number of
fish and birds in the area. There are also three preserved National
forest surrounding the lake : Dongnonbor, Dongnonghai and Dongpakab,
which creates an even more natural habitat for the birds.
No regulations on the protection of the lake existed. however as the
number of wildlife increased, the chief of the village drafted a
letter of request describing an idea on how to protect the lake with
reference to government degree on wildlife preservation and laws on
environmental protection and was approved by the district governor.
Since then the birds live naturally without fear of hunters and beauty
can be seen through their natural behaviors due to the protection of
According to the new rules and regulations to protect the lake, it is
forbidden to drain the lake. In addition a fence around the lake and
two pavillion to stand guard, have been constructed. The villagers
earned about 20 million kips in selling fish from the lake. At
present, there are both local and foreigners who spend weekends here.
If this area was improved with recreational facilities, natural paths
and study sites for nature, tourism will definitely increase.
Mr.John a German expert, walking in Phou Khao Khouay Forest
Preservation area went from his office to see these groups of birds.
Upon seeing them he said "Oh my God! I wonder if all the birds living
in my country will come to marry the beautiful birds in this lovely
lake". In this area there are about 10 different types of birds
including: Nok Khon-gnou (oriental Darter), Nok Phetnam (Shelduck),
Nok Phetka (white-winged Duck), Nok Xan (Rails), Nok Kaina, Nok Itoum
(Watercock), Nok Chao, Nok Gnang (Egret), Nok Xai and Nok Kouark. If
the villagers are able to provide better care and security for them
more flocks of birds will arrive.
The sun was about to set as our photographers crawled under the bamboo
to get an even more interesting photo. Unfortunately it was time for
us to leave, although we had not yet seen all of the different types
of birds that would come later in the evening. Another time we would
prefer to stay over night.